How Do You Get Back on Your Feet After Serving a 15-year Prison Sentence?

This is the answer I gave to the question raised on another social media platform

Photo: Pixabay

In answering this question I take as my model the life of John Profumo. He was the Secretary of State for War who got caught up in a scandal with a call girl and a foreign spy back in the early 1960s. He lied to Parliament and his party about his involvement with these people. His behaviour led to the resignation of the Prime Minister. He lost his job and his position in society. The media crucified him. His career ended in disgrace. 

After his resignation, John Profumo disappeared from the limelight. He went to work as a volunteer at Toynbee Hall a charity that works on the causes and impacts of poverty in the East End of London.

Profumo worked quietly and tirelessly at the charity for the rest of his life. Eventually, he became the chief fundraiser for Toynbee Hall and raised millions of pounds. Thirteen years after the scandal the Queen appointed him CBE for his charity work. The then prime minister invited him to her 70th birthday dinner.

He lived to the age of 91 and died peacefully surrounded by his family. At the end of his life, Lord Longford said he "felt more admiration [for Profumo] than [for] all the men I've known in my lifetime"

My interpretation of John Profumo’s second life goal is that he set out to make himself useful to people who needed something that he felt he could do.

I think that John Profumo understood that:

  1. No one else cares as much as you do about what happens next in your life.

  2. Whether you have been to the university of Harvard or Hard Knocks the same basic life rule applies - you and only you create the way that your life plays out. You have to drive yourself forward from here, no one else can do it for you.

  3. You can’t control what other people think. So don’t worry about what they might be thinking. Just get on with what you want to do. In the long run, you will influence what people think about you only by the way you behave.

I think that what John Profumo did and which you could also do is:

  1. He decided what sort of person he wanted to be. So, what do you need to think about all the time to make yourself that sort of person? How do you have to behave in order to feel good about yourself? 

  2. I suspect he thought a lot about, “What makes a good impact on other people?” So:

    1. Be cheerful

    2. Be helpful, willing to put yourself out for others

    3. Work hard

  3. Realise that although you want a regular income, a house, car, partner, all of these are results that come from the way you are and what you do.

  4. Set yourself just one “Way-of-being” goal and devote all your thoughts and energies to achieving that goal.

Over to you now.

I wish you a long, happy and fulfilling life.